Fast Growth Doesn't Necessarily Lead to Prosperity

A recent report shows that fast growing cities had lower incomes and bigger income drops during the recession. Mary Newsom digests the report and delves into what it means for cities looking forward.
January 30, 2011, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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The results of the report challenge conventional wisdom, and Newsom writes that cities might be best served by thinking twice about pinning prosperity solely on growth.

"Fodor looked at 2000-2009 data and found that on a series of measures, fast-growing cities were less prosperous than slow-growing ones. Fast-growing cities had lower incomes and during the Great Recession (i.e. 2007-09) saw greater income drops. He found no correlation between growth rate and unemployment.

I have some quibbles with his methods: His report doesn't appear to have looked at whether fast-growing cities might, until the recession slammed them, have had greater income growth. Many of the fast-growing cities are in the South, where incomes were lower to start with and where the recession has hit particularly hard.

But Fodor's point is that this bedrock assumption that growth automatically brings prosperity might not be true after all."

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Published on Sunday, January 30, 2011 in Citiwire
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